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In the real world of project management — the one where waterfall diagrams don’t always fall, and critical paths aren’t always critical — I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that issue management skills determine project success as much as anything else. Show me a good project manager, and I’ll show you a good issue manager.

Unfortunately, that same thinking doesn’t apply to all project management software solutions. Not all project management software offers great issue tracking solutions.

In other words, some project management software solutions that do a good job on some aspects of managing projects— such as resource tracking, scheduling, reporting and so on — don’t necessarily have built-in issue tracking that’s worthy of applause. Ironically, some of them actually create more issues, and cause project managers to scream in frustration.

That’s why it’s critical – and there’s really no other word for it – to ensure that the issue tracker in your project management software solution HELPS instead of HARMS.

And the simplest way to ensure that it HELPS is to choose software that lets you:

  • Manage all issues in the same place that you manage your projects (I can’t stress how important this is!)
  • View and control all project and non-project related issues
  • Centralize all incoming requests and ideas, which can then be allocated to specific projects
  • Associate customers with issues so that you can efficiently manage the resolution process (and avoid angry customers!)
  • Customize specific fields, workflows and validation rules so that you can manage the entire issue lifecycle
  • Run a wide range of statistical and visual reports for both internal (team-facing) and external (customer-facing) purposes

And of course, you want to ensure that the issue tracking integrates completely with your project management environment, so that you can easily build a work plan for issue resolution, or link existing text to your issues.